SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
VIOLENT RIGHT-WING EXTREMIST ATTACK ON MEDIA COINCIDES WITH FIRST TERRORIST GROUP LISTING
Labor welcomes the Australian Government’s decision to proscribe the UK-based right-wing extremist group Sonnenkrieg Division as a terrorist organisation.
The announcement of this listing comes as a domestic Australian right-wing extremist group, the National Socialist Network, perpetrated a violent attack on the Channel Nine offices in Melbourne yesterday, injuring a security guard.
Senator Kristina Keneally, Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, said our national security agencies have told us that right-wing extremism in Australia is real and growing.
"For a year Labor has been calling for the Morrison Government to take seriously the growing terrorist threat from violent right-wing extremism,” Senator Keneally said.
"In December of last year, Labor successfully forced the Morrison Government to refer an inquiry into right-wing extremism to the Intelligence and Security Committee.
"Australia is the last of the 5 Eyes countries to designate a right-wing extremist group as a terrorist organisation.
“There are several other right-wing extremist groups, some with direct links to Australian groups, that have already been proscribed by our 5 Eyes partners.
"The Sonnenkrieg Division is a UK-based right-wing extremist group, which adheres to a violent white-supremacist ideology. It was proscribed by the UK over a year ago.
"The question for the Morrison Government now is whether those other groups will also be proscribed in Australia."
The National Socialist Network is the same group that gathered in the Grampians in January of this year, displaying Nazi symbols, chanting racist slogans and terrorising other visitors. The National Socialist Network is not proscribed in Australia.
Media is reporting that the National Socialist Network’s purported leader, Thomas Sewell, arrived with a companion at the offices of Channel Nine in Melbourne yesterday, demanding to see journalists at A Current Affair, which ran a segment on the group last night.
When Sewell was refused entry to the building, he began racially abusing the security guard on duty and then punched him in the face. Sewell's companion recorded the incident and posted it online.
"This was a vile, ugly attack," Senator Keneally said.
"It is an example of the threat right-wing extremists pose to not only our national security but also our national values and our multicultural society.
"It is worth noting that it was Sewell and his companion that filmed and posted the attack online.
“Right-wing extremist groups are sophisticated in their use of mainstream media attention to radicalise, recruit and spread insidious ideologies.
"Our national security agencies tell us that right-wing extremism in Australia is real and growing.
“Australians deserve a Government that is on their side, and that includes taking the threat of right-wing extremism seriously."
TUESDAY, 2 MARCH 2021